The Nationals are activating reliever Drew Storen off the disabled list and designating outfielder Rick Ankiel for assignment before today's series finale against the Mets, moves that leave the club at least temporarily with an eight-man bullpen and four-man bench.
Storen, out since spring training with a bone spur in his right elbow that required surgery, will be available today to make his season debut and could be manager Davey Johnson's best option to close after Tyler Clippard struggled each of the last two nights.
Ankiel's removal from the roster is a bit of a surprise, but Johnson may have telegraphed the decision by giving Roger Bernadina significant playing time in the outfield over the last week.
The Nationals also today placed catcher Jhonatan Solano on the DL with an oblique strain and recalled Sandy Leon from Class AA Harrisburg.
The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
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While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
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